India Tests Nuclear Missile Capable of Reaching Beijing

Posted April 18th, 2012 at 11:30 pm (UTC-5)
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India test-fired a new missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead as far as the Chinese capital, Beijing.

Indian media showed video of the long-range Agni-V missile in-flight Thursday. There was no official government confirmation of the test or whether it was successful.

The Agni-V has a range of 5,000 kilometers. The launch from a test range in the eastern state of Orissa was slated for as early as Wednesday evening, but had been postponed due to bad weather.

Ravi Gupta, a spokesman for India's Defense Research and Development Organization has said the Agni-V represents a “quantum leap” in India's strategic capability. But Indian officials have also cautioned that the missile should not be seen as a threat. Gupta said India has a “no first use” policy and that India's missile systems are not “country specific.”

The United States has been calling on all nuclear powers to exercise restraint regarding nuclear capabilities.

On Wednesday, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Washington was aware of the impending test, adding that India has a solid non-proliferation record and is engaged with the international community on non-proliferation issues.

India has been testing its ballistic missile defense system since 2006. If it becomes viable, India would become one of the few nations with a working missile shield.